You Just Bought a House - Change the Locks!

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Rulnick Realty, Inc.

I recently sold a house in Destin Florida. The buyer’s agent asked repeatedly for the seller to turn over all the keys – they only had a couple of them. Where were the rest? Who knows? They had two teenage sons and there was an ex-spouse. Perhaps they had extra keys. Maybe a neighbor, or two, had a key to the house. Perchance, the pet sitter had a key.  When the seller bought the house, he may not have received all the keys from the previous owner. What does this mean? Stop worrying about all the keys. As a matter of course, when you buy a new house, condo, townhouse or commercial property, change the locks, yes, even for a brand new house! There is such a thing as a master key that builders use. What does it cost to re-key a house? Not much. I just called A to Z Lock and Safe, who cover the Emerald Coast of Florida. Their service call charges are between $50-$75, it’s $12.50 per lock change and keys are $2.25 each. So, you could change locks on your new property easily for under $150.00!

Why risk it?

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Wendy

This is such important advice for new homeowners but I find some just don't bother. It's a huge risk, even more so with homes that have a rental history. I tell all buyers about this as a reminder for the day after closing!

Jeff

Oct 19, 2017 03:52 PM #4
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Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
There's no place like home.

I generally recommend the same... have all the locks re-keyed... you have no idea who, out there, has a key.

Oct 19, 2017 05:48 PM #5
Rainmaker
3,985,587
William Feela
WHISPERING PINES REALTY - North Branch, MN
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

Thisis a must for new owners.  You will not have any idea of how many people may have had a key

Oct 19, 2017 06:45 PM #6
Rainer
246,124
Ben DeHaven
Haven Realty & Investments - Winter Haven, FL
Proudly serving Winter Haven & Lakeland, Florida

I remember the first time I was a best man at a wedding. Towards the end of my speach I mentioned the groom (as we all know) has had a few girlfriends in the past, and if anyone present had a key to his house please bring it to this table and put it in this glass. 

 

Neither the bride or the groom knew I had handed out 30 blank keys earlier and asked for everyone to give them back to me "when the time was right". Man the looks the bride gave us before everyone started laughing. 

 

Yes please change your locks!!

Oct 19, 2017 08:50 PM #7
Rainer
157,586
Corey Martin
Martin Presence Group - Ruston, LA
Real Estate and Management Solutions

This is a great idea for anyone. If you even suspect that the keys are not all accounted for, change them. Great tip. Thanks for sharing. 

Oct 19, 2017 08:51 PM #8
Rainer
108,515
Mega Team Real Estate
Realty ONE Group Alliance - San Mateo, CA
San Francisco and Peninsula Real Estate Concierge

Wow! Another great tips and idea for new home buyers. Thank you for sharing this. 

Oct 20, 2017 02:35 AM #9
Rainmaker
1,628,009
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Yes indeed. Changing those locks is something I always recommend they do right away. You never know who has keys.

Oct 20, 2017 03:31 AM #10
Rainer
605,756
Sham Reddy CRS
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH
CRS

That's the first piece of advice I give them everytime we gets the keys to the new home!!!

Oct 20, 2017 04:19 AM #11
Rainmaker
3,209,308
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

It is good advice I love giving my buyers. It is easy enough to change them yourself as well. 

Oct 20, 2017 05:04 AM #12
Rainmaker
933,104
Joy Daniels
Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd. - Harrisburg, PA

This is great advice! Such a simple and inexpensive solution for peace of mind.

Oct 20, 2017 05:52 AM #13
Rainer
338,318
Ron Tissier
Chapman Hall Premier Realtors (404) 580-9069 - Atlanta, GA
Defining Homes. Defining Lifestyles.

Great advice Wendy!  I change/re-key the locks for my Buyer clients as a closing gift.  One less thing for them to worry about during and after moving in.

Cheers!

Oct 20, 2017 06:14 AM #14
Rainmaker
748,626
Rob D. Shepherd
Windermere/lane county - Florence, OR
Principal Broker GRI, SRES

When I mention it to Buyers, I can't beleive how many are in shock and had not thought of that.

Oct 20, 2017 06:39 AM #15
Rainmaker
2,570,823
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Laying this subject to rest for a small price is worth it

Oct 20, 2017 07:02 AM #16
Rainer
244,055
Brenda Whitman, Live in Laramie Real Estate
Live in Laramie Real Estate, Laramie, Wyoming - Laramie, WY
Broker/Co-Owner, Laramie, Wyoming

Changing the locks seems to be one of those things that crosses everyone's mind but very few people ever seem to do..... at least around here.

Oct 20, 2017 11:23 AM #17
Rainmaker
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Marie-Denise Kratsios
Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty - Huntington, NY
Where ever you are, that's where I'll be!

Great advice for every buyer!  We learned this the hard way.  When we bought our home many years ago, we didn't change the locks because we weren't moving into it for a few weeks.  Sure enough, we had an "intrusion."  I can't really say broken into because it became apparent they used a key.  Nothing was in the house, so there really wasn't damage done.  Just a few tell tale signs .  We realized that it was one of the previous owner's unhappy kids.  I tell my buyers that changing the locks should be the very first thing they do.

Oct 20, 2017 06:50 PM #18
Rainmaker
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Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

But do we do it for ourselves? Ha, ha, ha. I know I should change the locks on my vacation home but have not. I did change the keypads for the front door and garage, but I did not change the keys. Probably should, I know. But then I figure, well, they'll just set off the alarm.

Oct 20, 2017 06:58 PM #19
Rainmaker
822,968
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

Good advice that I wish ALL buyers agent would provide to their clients.  I'd never want to move into a home without changing the locks ... as you said, who knows how many people have a copy of that old key?  It's not worth the risk for such an easy fix.

Oct 20, 2017 09:34 PM #20
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Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

 Greetings from Tallahassee, Wendy.

   Sage advice!  Change the locks, and the frequency or code for the garage door openers and gate openers.

Oct 21, 2017 05:10 PM #22
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Anthony Kirlew
Group 46:10 Network @ eXp Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Helping You Make Fiscally Sound Choices

Yes, it was one of the first things I did when I bought my house (before we moved in). It should be in every post closing check list.

Oct 22, 2017 09:43 AM #23
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Frank Rubi
Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC - Metairie, LA
FrankRubiRealEstate.com

Good advice on Lock changing. I go as far as having a buyer signing a Lock Change Disclosure at the closing table.

Oct 22, 2017 03:21 PM #24
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Wendy Rulnick

"It's Wendy... It's Sold!"
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